Posted by: Onuora Amobi
Microsoft, Microsoft Surface, Windows RT
Recently I wrote about how Surface RT was off to a slow start. There were several reasons why the table wasn’t flying off the shelf. The biggest reasons had to do with a lack of clear marketing about the benefits of Windows RT, the second was probably due to limited retail presence at launch.
What about Windows RT as an OS though, is it in danger? Some analysts, IT professionals and tech journalists certainly seem to think so. Windows RT currently has only 5 devices running it, and it has yet to take off in a big way.
While the Surface RT is a solid offering, many of us just like the idea of having legacy app support with Windows 8. Sure, you might not really need it for a tablet, but it is still nice to know it is there. Another reason is that the ecosystem for apps is still growing, and Windows 8 desktop apps gives us something to lean on to make up for the gap in the Store right now.
So what does Microsoft have to say about Windows RT and its future? They haven’t talked to much about it in the past, though in a recent interview with Tami Reller through Bloomberg, it was stated that there would be no new Windows RT devices this spring. This is in sharp contrast to past reports that vendors would be aiming to release several new RT tablets and convertibles over the next few months. According to Reller, the move is to focus on bringing up the supply of the 5 existing devices.
So is that the final nail in the coffin for RT? Not necessarily. It could be that Microsoft plans to focus aggressively on the existing 5 RT devices this Spring with marketing efforts, pricing cuts and clearer “education” to its customers about the benefits of RT.
It isn’t over yet, though I will admit that the future of Windows RT is starting to look uncertain.
What Can Microsoft Do to Restore Faith in Windows RT?
Honestly, they need to establish a clearer picture of why consumers should go with RT over Windows 8. Right now, there isn’t much difference. Battery levels, weights and pricing are all quite similar when comparing an Intel Atom tablet to an ARM Windows tablet.
Smaller form factors like 7-inch tablets, removing the desktop components, and creating specific or special “RT only” apps and programs could certainly help turn things around. Going with cheaper dual-core ARM processors and lesser components could also help cut costs in future RT devices. If the gap between an entry ARM and an entry x86 tablet could be at least $150– then RT could certainly become a worthy alternative.
As for the current line up? Besides price cuts, Microsoft simply needs to prove that RT is a better investment than x86. Easier said than done. I truly think that Windows RT could still have the chance to turn things around, but the time is running out. What do you think of Windows RT, do you feel that in its current form there is enough reasons to choose an RT tablet over an ATOM-based Windows 8 device?